Wednesday, September 25, 2013

7.0 Magnitude Quake Strikes Peru, Tsunami Warning Issued

A 7.0 magnitude quake has occurred along the subduction zone in northern Peru, along the Pacific Ring of fire. Nearby Holocene volcanoes are Sara Sara, Coropuna, Andahua-Orcopampa, Huambo, and Sabancaya. The nearest volcano is Sara Sara, which last had an eruption during the Holocene, but historical eruptions are uncertain at best. Ash layers in peat moss do suggest somewhat geologically recent activity. The nearest historical volcano is Andahua-Orcopampa, which according to the GVP had its last eruption in the early 15th century. Sabancaya has also shown recent unrest, but is pretty far from the epicenter.

The tremblor prompted officials to issue a tsunami warning for the South Pacific, which is probably out of an abundance of caution, rather than because a tsunami was generated.

Damage has been reported in nearby towns, however no deaths or injuries are yet apparent. 

Screenshot of Google Earth with USGS overlay, and shakemap.

Earthquakes of large magnitude are common in the region, and along the majority of the subduction zones of the Pacific Ring of Fire. Peru typically has several large quakes a year, as well as Chile, which had a magnitude 8.8 quake several years ago that created a small tsunami. By the time the tsunami reached the big island of Hawaii, it was only a couple of feet (if that) high, and created very little damage apart from knocking a few boats around. The tsunami from the 2011 Japan quake, in contrast, was generated by a magnitude 9.0 subduction quake, which was able to cause damage as far as Southern California in the US.

A 7.0 earthquake is unlikely to generate a significant tsunami.

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